Episode Thirty Eight: Cornishware

Episode Thirty Eight: Cornishware

Episode show notes

The Cornishware brand’s iconic striped design is a hugely recognisable hallmark of a company over 150 years into its journey, and having taken the reins in 2007, Charles & Rebecca Rickards are retaining its magic.

The pair contribute to the continued success as Managing Director and Graphic Designer, and exude pride in the opportunity to work as a father-daughter duo. On this week’s It Runs In The Family, we dive into their complementary skill sets, strong ties to the community, and the intangible bond that sets family businesses apart.

This episode covers:

  • The intangible qualities that underpin so many family businesses’ success
  • Charles & Rebecca’s complementary roles, and their pride in being able to work together
  • Cornishware’s lovely connection to their huge, engaged community
  • How Rebecca’s desire to help Ukraine led so quickly to such prolific and rapid fundraising
A graphic with Robin, Judy and Ollie.

Episode highlights

“Most patents were very floral and dainty, and I’ve got some of the old archives there. At the bottom on these pages are about 12 images with floral designs, and then suddenly at the bottom right hand corner, there’s this thing with bold stripes. That was the beginning of the Cornishware design.” – 3:00 – Charles Rickards

“When you’re buying a family business, you’re very aware it’s a family business, because that’s where a lot of its strength has come from. It’s all those intangibles that you can’t really pin down.” – 8:15 – Charles Rickards

“There’s a huge support for us on our Instagram. The messages our customers send – they are completely rooting for us and supporting us the whole time. It’s really lovely. I’ve never known a brand speak with their customers like they’re almost our friends. There are people who are really supporting the brand who don’t want to see the brand ever go away.” – 20:45 – Rebecca Rickards

“If I had an idea on a Saturday, I’m like, ‘I can’t wait till Monday to tell Dad, I gotta tell him right now, I’m calling him’. So it’s hard when it’s a family business to sometimes separate the two because they are so entwined.” – 28:40 – Rebecca Rickards

“It’s totally different when you work with colleagues. You might be close to them, but you don’t have this weird family telepathy thing where you just you’ve grown up with them, so you know them so well, you wouldn’t even have to talk to each other to agree on something.” – 36:45 – Rebecca Rickards

“So when we first became involved, the most dedicated, almost loyal customers were the 35 to 45 year olds, followed closely by the 45 to 55 year olds. Since the lockdown, it’s the 25 to 35 year olds who are the leading group now.” – 51:10 – Charles Rickards

“When the Ukraine thing was going on, the news was just hideous, and it was really hard to watch. I came into work the next day, and said we’ve got to do something. I’ve never launched something so quickly in my life, and the 100 plates sold out in 4 minutes.” – 53:20 – Rebecca Rickards

“It’s family, it’s so close, we all really care. There’s so much emotional attachment and I love working with Dad. I feel really privileged. Honestly, I feel so lucky to even have this chance.” – 1:05:00 – Rebecca Rickards

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Episode Thirty Seven: The Pig/Home Grown Hotels

Episode Thirty Seven: The Pig/Home Grown Hotels

Robin Hutson’s extraordinary impact on the hospitality industry earned him an OBE in 2022’s New Year’s Honours, being part of one of the country’s most impactful family hotel chains.

With Judy Hutson alongside bringing an influential eye for design, and son Ollie Hutson’s mastery of a quality kitchen garden, this family’s clearly well-versed in combining their extraordinary skills.

The trio join us on It Runs In The Family to discuss their approach to viewing the team as a huge extended family, how they come together in times of hardship, retaining their family values through any business structure, and so much more!

This episode covers:

  • Robin’s illustrious hotelier history, from Hotel du Vin to The Pig hotel chain
  • How Ollie observed and learned from so much of his parents’ business acumen through formative years
  • The huge cultural impact of Judy’s hotel designs throughout their chains
  • Upholding the family values through a future involving the introduction of private equity
  • Celebrity anecdotes from their history, involving the likes of David Bowie, Angela Hartnett and Mark Nix
A graphic with Robin, Judy and Ollie.

Episode highlights

“When we first opened The Pig in 2011, Ollie will tell you, he went to agricultural college and was in between jobs, shall we say. He started helping us out in the gardens there at the first Pig in brockenhurst. Unbeknown to us, the general manager there offered him a full time job, and the rest is history, really.” – 2:30 – Robin Hutson

“I had been working as a community occupational therapist in latter years, my main specialism was short term acute psychiatry. I’d become disillusioned so the move to Winchester actually created a time for me to change profession. I don’t call myself being an interior designer ‘Professional’. It’s more suck it and see – I’m not trained.” – 7:30 – Judy Hutson

“If we’ve got a family event and 5 minutes before one of us says something’s just come up and we can’t make it, it’s easier – we all just understand that these things happen. So I think it probably gives us a better understanding of different levels of flexibility.” – 14:30 – Ollie Hutson

“We try to have integrity about all the different areas. So whether it’s the kitchen garden, or anywhere else, we try not to just pay lip service to it. We try to put the right level of resources and so on behind it.” – 23:15 – Robin Hutson

“We employ about 1000 people within The Pig hotels at the moment. It sounds kind of corny, I guess, but we do consider them extended family and try to treat them like that. To a large extent, that’s at the roots of our culture.” – 25:10 – Robin Hutson

“I challenge my dad in my own way. There’s probably not many of the senior management group who will turn around to the man and say, ‘You’re being a dick’, that’s literally what I say! He probably does get a unique personalised perspective from me. I try to exercise discretion as well as being the barometer – it’s just about finding that balance.” – 37:15 – Ollie Hutson

“We didn’t have a night porter when we started Hotel du Vin, so Gerard and I, having spent probably 18 hours in the hotel, would take it in turns to sleep on the sofa to provide cover at night, which was pretty brutal.” – 54:50 – Robin Hutson

“I still have the same passion for what I do now as I had at the beginning. So I wouldn’t change anything about my journey, I’m just excited for the next step.” – 56:40 – Judy Hutson

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Episode Thirty-Six: CIPR’s Best Podcast of 2022

Episode Thirty-Six: CIPR’s Best Podcast of 2022

With 35 episodes under our belt since February 2021, we’re delighted to announce that It Runs In The Family has been named Best Podcast at the CIPR Excellence Awards 2022!

It’s an unparalleled pleasure to share such an experience within a family business, and now seems as good a time as any to look back at the wonderful experiences and incredible guests that made this award possible.

Join us for a very special episode where we pick out our highlights, share some hilarious stories, and even bring our editor Dan in to pick the brains of the man who sees the true mother-daughter relationship with zero filter…

This episode covers:

  • Our journey to the CIPR Excellence Awards
  • Episode highlights, from Jimmy’s Iced Coffee and Timothy Everest to Trewithen Dairy and ACME Whistles
  • How the podcast experience has exemplified the tight network that’s so special to family businesses
  • Tales from award shows past and present
  • A dissection of our own special bond

Episode Highlights

“CIPR is a fantastic membership organisation that really does keep the ethics and the good work behind comms professionals at the forefront of the business community. We’d like to acknowledge their hard work and their awards programme, which gave us the opportunity to really champion this podcast.” – 1:20 – Liz Willingham 

“Richard Branson himself is such a name, he is famous in his own right outside of the business. So how that plays a part in their family dynamic, their business dynamic – you can’t secretly slip into Virgin with the surname Branson without the dots being connected, I’m sure. So I would love to get under the skin with them.” – 8:30 – Leila Willingham 

“It’s so crazy to think that with all of the different business ideas, the different routes to market, everyone’s background may be so different, and yet they all share such similar values. Those people who listen through to every single one of the 36 episodes and counting will get that the best.” – 11:55 – Dan Johnston

“Thatcher’s is such a lovely business. They’ve really created a brilliant name for themselves perfectly, and they really champion the longevity of the business, the environment, and all the values that we know come so strongly through family firms. They’re a really big advocate for that. Plus, obviously they make really lovely cider!” – 15:25 – Leila Willingham 

“It is time consuming for our guests as well, and they put their trust and faith in us that we’re going to represent their brand appropriately, and to do the right and honourable thing by their business, so we are incredibly grateful.” – 20:25 – Liz Willingham 

“There’s a strong theme that comes through all of our episodes: people do it for the love of what they do. They do it because they love their team. They do it because they’re passionate about the product. We started the podcast because we love the stories and hadn’t really had ambitions to do what we’ve done with it, but it’s a nice bonus.” – 24:10 – Leila Willingham 

“As we’ve been on our own business, family business journey, we’ve always talked about whether we should get a family business mentor, whether they could help coach me so that I learn quicker. But if anything, I think we’ve had the best mentorship through all 35 of our recordings.” – 26:55 – Leila Willingham 

“Accountability is often the best way of learning. You can’t coach people so much that you’re just doing the job for them, and they’re not feeling exposed to risks of making a wrong judgement call. Sometimes in our industry, you do need to throw people in the deep end a little bit. That’s when they fly.” – 33:50 – Liz Willingham 

“Our life and our working life would be very different if we didn’t have the podcast. To be recognised for the hard work we put in, it’s been really nice. It’s been nice just to chat about us a little bit. It’s a bit self indulgent, but if there’s ever an opportunity to be self indulgent, it’s after an award win surely!” – 37:00 – Leila Willingham 

Listen to this podcast episode on Apple, Spotify, Google or Amazon

Episode Thirty Four: Perky Blenders

Episode Thirty Four: Perky Blenders

Peaky Blinders may have wrapped up, but the marvellous marital team behind Perky Blenders is showing no signs of slowing.

Adam and Victoria Cozens are the Co-Founding team behind the growing roasters, doing so with an admirable degree of collaboration and care for the community. 

The couple join us in this week’s It Runs In The Family to discuss how they attracted Levi’s & Google, the future of the coffee movement, and the family business story that’ll help them stay on the forefront of it.

This episode covers:

  • The invaluable sense of community that brings Perky Blenders’ true value
  • How a husband and wife team balances business and bringing up their children
  • Pride in each other’s developing skills and roles in the business
  • Advancing their brand-building through collaboration and celebrating local businesses

Episode Highlights

“Within the London area, we could feel there was a movement of speciality coffee becoming much more popular and much more noticed. There were other roasteries starting to make momentum. We realised that there was still room to do that, so it was a good solid route to go down.” – 6:20 – Victoria Cozens

“Some of it I can’t even really clearly remember, but the more you speak to other parents, you realise that so many people do go through the same experience.” – 13:30 – Victoria Cozens

“We took the route of family and community where we work because we enjoy it. The more enjoyment, the more story that’s created naturally from a product, not trying to cultivate something.” – 22:25 – Adam Cozens

“It certainly is true to say it is challenging, and it constricts your emotions, and takes you to places you’ve never been before. But it’s also really wonderful, because you’re sharing it together, and you’re there for each other when it is tough. But when you’ve got things to celebrate, it’s a great feeling to be able to share that with the person that you’re closest to.” – 27:25 – Victoria Cozens

“Bigger companies that everybody’s known and heard of – Levi’s, Google UNIQLO – they approached us to work with them. I’m just thinking, ‘How has that come about?’, and realise it’s probably the huge amount of work we’ve put in.” – 41:00 – Victoria Cozens

“I tend to refer people to Victoria to connect them now, which is something that would have been the other way around to start with. It definitely works that way now, so I’m very proud of her for that.” – 48:45 – Adam Cozens

“I wish I had more time to tap into all the great things that there are in the coffee community. Maybe one day, I will expand that a bit more, but there’s so much available to be part of a great community. I felt really lucky to be part of that.” – 1:02:00 – Victoria Cozens

“I think the key piece of advice to anyone is make sure you have a vision. But don’t be worried that that vision is going to sway and curve. You move a couple of degrees in one direction, you go to a very different destination, but you’re going in the right direction.” – 1:07:00 – Adam Cozens

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Episode Thirty Three: Arighi Bianchi

Episode Thirty Three: Arighi Bianchi

Harking from Lake Como, the Bianchi family behind Arighi Bianchi began their journey way back in 1854. Carrying that heritage forward, this 5th generation business is headed up by a thriving family with strong bonds all round.

Managing Director Sarah, Director Nick and Head of Comms Lucy, all share tales of a business proud of their legacy. The luxury home furniture & decor brand continues to excel on firm foundations, and we hear how those foundations of trust with customers, togetherness in tough times & encouragement without pressure were built.

This episode covers:

  • The extraordinary story behind Arighi Bianchi’s 168 year legacy
  • Sarah taking the reins as Managing Director during the pandemic
  • The pride in their legacy and inherent trust between them and customers
  • How each family member found their own natural route into the business

Episode Highlights

“Family history is so important to what we stand for as a business. It’s a pillar, and we celebrate the history, the heritage.” – 4:00 – Nick Bianchi 

“We all live very close to each other and socialise. So we do try now, if we are out, to leave work behind as much as we can. But then you might bump into a friend or somebody who says, ‘Oh, I’ve got my sofa on order. When’s it arriving? Can you give me a call tomorrow?’ Or ‘My sofa is late? Why is it late?’. I suppose because we’re also local to the business, it’s sort of part and parcel of life.” – 8:00 – Sarah Bianchi

“At the time it was just a bit of a temporary measure through furlough and whatnot. I’m still here two years later! My job has evolved from just helping out to now being head of comms really.” – 22:05 – Lucy Mather

“When I took over, it was literally as the shop reopened, and the world was just mad. Nobody could understand how busy the shop would be. In a way, my first 6-9 months was literally taken up with trying to source products” – 27:35 – Sarah Bianchi

“We’ve got colleagues who’ve got relatives who worked during COVID in the NHS, and there’s three big hospitals near us. They were desperate to create these sanctuary rooms for nurses and key staff. We created sanctuary rooms for them, and that was about giving back and that’s something we’re really proud of, because they were the heroes during the lockdown.” – 42:45 – Nick Bianchi

“Sarah and I see ourselves – and John & Rick, our cousins I’m sure – see ourselves as the custodians to the next generation as well. So hopefully, you know, it will be a sixth, seventh, maybe even the rarefied air of 26 generations.” – 56:55 – Nick Bianchi 

“Just because we’ve done things a certain way, doesn’t mean you’ve always got to keep on doing it a certain way. Keep challenging the reasons why you’re doing things.” – 1:05:20 – Sarah Bianchi 

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